The Noose Hangs High (1948)

I’ve been familiar with Abbott and Costello for years at this point, but this is actually the very first time I’ve seen a full feature movie by them. My expectations might have been a bit high when going in, but I can’t really say I was disappointed. As to be expected from a comedy duo that once dominated the comedy circuit, they’re a regular riot and their wordplay comedy is clever and hilarious even by today’s standards. That said, you can easily see why they eventually fell out of fashion: recycling their (massively overexposed) routines time and time again, it’s only a matter of time before the act starts to become stale, no matter how well crafted and witty the routine is.

As for the film itself, it’s entirely decent given that it’s an old comedy. You don’t exactly expect to have a deep story. From today’s POV the story of course feels a bit like an overextended sitcom episode rather than anything else, but that’s forgivable because it manages to remain funny the entire duration of the movie and there is never any pretense for the story to be anything more than an excuse for Abbott and Costello to showcase their jokes. The set up for the plot of course is funny and clever. By putting them in a jam when they accidentally lose several thousand dollars of gambling winnings and them trying to find/earn it back is open enough structure for the story to allows Abbott and Costello to get away with just doing a string of skits in different places and never feels particularly out of bounds. Based on the quality of this movie, I’m certainly going to check out more of the duos movies in the future, the classic Abbott and Costello meet the famous Universal monsters flicks in particular are something I’m very interested in. .


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